Sunday, August 31, 2014

8/31 - Avenue of the Giants

257 miles.

The Oregon coast is incredible, and as soon as you cross into California you're dumped into Redwoods. Amazing riding today.

I asked a lady to take my photo at a scenic stop, and she said, "Say sex, not everybody likes cheese!"

Saturday, August 30, 2014

8/30 - Hiker Biker Common Ground

228 miles.

The Oregon coast is stunning, but you probably already knew that.

Labor Day weekend meant Humbug Mountain State Park campgrounds were booked full, but there were several hiker biker sites left so I snuck in with them. The cyclists I've met have been super nice!

Also, yes, the scooter is unofficially named Serenity. Yes, after the ship in the TV show, Firefly, but also because it's impossible to ride angry. She takes off the line however she wants, rides smooth and quiet, and blue is just sort of a serene color.

Friday, August 29, 2014

8/29 - On the Road Again

335 miles.

I arrived at Diamond Lake campground and set up camp early, so I took a sunset drive around Crater Lake. The road, Rim Drive, is narrow, winding, and without guard rails. The sheer drop down the far side made my stomach do flips, even without a hulking RV edging over the double yellow lines from the other direction.

Thanks to the guy on the small bike who returned my low wave with an awesome fist pump.

At about 5,000 feet above sea level, I'd lost feeling in my fingertips by the time I returned to the tent. A hot shower barely helped. Enshrouded within my sleeping bag with my warm tights on, I thought it would be fair to indulge in some technology: Orphan Black marathon till sleeptime.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

8/28 - Confluence of Interests

See See Motorcycles & Coffee. Browsing gear, drinking coffee, internetting, snacks and wine all in one place. Oh, Portland, I'm not that cool.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

8/27 - Like Minded

Toured the Vernier offices today courtesy of host, Jake - they have a fireman's slide indoor! Caught up with Colin (underboning on ADV) for Kim Jong Grillin' and a walk through Mount Taber City Park. He showed up on his Symba 100 that's been around the world, for a mini-tour around Portland. It was great chatting with him about traveling, then wrapping up at Voodoo Doughnut because we both tend to plan around food, om nom nom.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

8/26 - My First Shrinky Dinks

It's true, I've never made a Shrinky Dink before. The kids I'm staying with are fans of the Guinea Pig books I illustrated, so I made some themed ones for them. Then I blasted away for the Tuesday night happy hour with Twist n Play SC at Tonic. Mmm two stroke smoke.

Monday, August 25, 2014

8/25 - Active Volcano Damage

296 miles.

This has been one of my favorite rides. Not just for the eery scenery riding through the blast zone of Mount St Helens, or the fanciful notion that I'm riding up an active volcano ("It could go off again any moment, woohoo!"). The road is just so much fun. It's twisty, yes. It's also sprinkled with dips, ridges, and other obstacles, which I actually liked for added challenge. It's forested, and then flattened forest. I bottomed out my suspension a few or more times and yep, scraped off some rust from the same spot I hit on the Snake back in Tennessee. I would do this ride over the Dragon any day. Too much fun!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

8/24 - Sunday chillin'

A chill day in Seattle before I roll out on Monday. I had a chance to indulge in my girliest habit: nail art (so many more examples peppered throughout Instagram). It was a bit like the teenage sleepover we never had because I moved to China, ha!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

8/23 - Hope that wasn't important

It was the drive gear.

Only a few breakdown at Mods vs Rockers today, held by the Cretins MC and Los Gatos Gordos SC.

Today was packed, urban canoeing with Gwynne and Tom in the morning, and a visit to Bruce and Brandon Lee's grave. Tom also practices kungfu, and we took a moment to reflect on the engraving on Brandon's grave.
Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens a certain number of times, and a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that's so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five time more. Perhaps not even that. How many times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
For Brandon and Eliza
Ever Joined in True Love's Beauty

Friday, August 22, 2014

8/22 - Volvo goes where it wants

Plan for the evening? Watch From Dusk Till Dawn (I've never seen it!) then crash a scooter party at a moto bar in a Volvo.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

8/21 - Totally Rockin' a Trike

209 miles.

Scooting to Bellingham, via Deception Pass (amazing!) and Chuckanut Drive (so pretty). I shared the ride with Triumph Chas, whom I met on the Mukilteo ferry. There were many cool things to draw for today, then I remembered this woman totally rocking out on her trike on my ride back into town. I mean, the thing was swerving with the beat, she was bobbing in time, and finger dancing was on 11. All while sitting in traffic on Rt 99. Awesome.

And I totally made it back in time to share drinks and snacks with Jackie, a cool scooterist I met at Amerivespa.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

8/20 - Motorcycle Night & Dessert

Mostly blog catchup and internet tasks during the day, lately. I couldn't believe how many bikes were at Backfire Motorcycle Night, I felt a bit like I was at a Sturgis again but with greater variety. Also, Hotcakes. That cake is made of booze.

On the Road Again, Angle or Bust. July 28-31, 2014.

On the Road Again, Angle or Bust. July 28-31, 2014. On the Road Again, Angle or Bust. July 28-31, 2014. On the Road Again, Angle or Bust. July 28-31, 2014. On the Road Again, Angle or Bust. July 28-31, 2014.

For an urbanite with a twist-n-go scoot, I sure do seem to like going to remote places. This week's journey: the unincorporated community of Angle Inlet, at the northernmost point I can drive the scooter in the contiguous US.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

8/19 - Food Friends 4 Eva

Oyster happy hour with Gwynne and Megan at The Walrus & The Carpenter. I did only have 2 oysters... 2 each of 3 varieties. And a delicious teepee of whole fried smelt. Foodie friends are the best.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Gear Talk: Sacrifices to the Road

Way better than stock.

This post is dedicated to the bits of my scooter that have broken or fallen off thus far.

8/18 - Coffee is not to be underestimated

Catching up at Cafe Racer, under the eyes of bad clown art. I finished that cup of coffee around 4pm, and still had trouble sleeping that night.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

8/17 - Fry Bread Friends

248 miles.

The westernmost point is actually Cape Alava, but it looked like I could drive a bit closer at Cape Flattery. Plus, it looked scenic so I went there. It's a lovely ride, twisty, sunny and foggy at times. Remote. Three out of four corners now, Lubec, ME I'm coming for year.

Furthest west I could drive, then I hiked another half mile.
There's a tiny lighthouse in the distance.

On my way back from the Cape, I stopped by a sign for fry bread, razor clam chowder, and pie. I met Duane and Lila, who may just be the nicest people in the world. What incredible kindness, I can't say thanks enough!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

8/16 - Floating friends, napping on shore

37 miles.

Tried on hats at Swain's, poked around tide pools in Salt Creek/Tongue Point, sat around a lake, grilled many things, drank spicy margaritas, and launched some cobs towards the Olympics with an enormous slingshot. Good people. I perhaps oversocialized after so much mountain time, and napped like a cat. It was wonderful.

Friday, August 15, 2014

8/15 - I can smell the ocean

92 miles.

I followed Gwynne, Tom, and Tim in the car to the Edmond-Kingston ferry port, but darted ahead of the line because there's no wait for motorcycles in WA.  It wasn't until I could smell the ocean and realized it's not the same as the one I left months ago, that it hit me how far I've traveled with my scoot. I suppose I'd fallen into a rhythm with me and the scoot, another city, and good friends I looked forward to spending time with. 12,000 miles is just a number.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

8/14 - All Boss Level Today

303 miles.

The finale to the epic scooter ride through eastern Washington rose to a crescendo with Steven's Pass. If hitting the pea-soup-thick fog made a sound effect, it would be, "PHOOWF." The fog could have lasted a minute or forever, there was no way to tell. Just an unending silvery white, an Apple store's dream. For a second you think the ground has dropped away, but actually it's because you've cleared the summit and have descended out of the clouds on the other side ("WHOOMF"). And it's beautiful. The trees are different - greener, more lush. The air smells like a good gin. It felt like I'd just beat a boss level, saved the forest, and now pixelated little forest animals were going to come party with me.

Or y'know, my childhood friend, Gwynne, would be waiting for me with izakaya intentions.

I have to admit, the tuna collar defeated me. I forget how big those fish are. There might still be leftovers in the fridge. It's not over yet...

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wisconsin (and a visit to Des Moines, IA). July 1-27, 2014.

Madison and Milwaukee, WI and a visit to Des Moines, IA. July 1-27, 2014. Madison and Milwaukee, WI and a visit to Des Moines, IA. July 1-27, 2014.

Arriving in Madison, WI was like taking a breath of air after a long dive. It's been my sister's home for about 4 years, and the first place I planned on staying for a few weeks. I was already familiar with the city from previous visits, and spending time with my sister was easy and natural. We quickly settled into a groove of coffee, takeout, kungfu movies, Friday fish frys, and of course it being Wisconsin, beer.

8/13 - Bighorn "Sheep"

292 miles.

I was under the impression that bighorns were just sheep with cool horns. I rounded a bend and three of them stood in the road, at least eye to eye with me. They gracefully and powerfully bounded away, while visions of total scooter wreckage still played behind my eyes.

Also, I found a hornet feeding on the bug spatter of my scooter. Montana is wild.

High mileage today, but I feel like I could ride forever (as long as the wildfires didn't catch me!). Rolling into Spokane for the night was a bit of a culture shock - what is this... traffic?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

8/12 - Stretch Break at the Park

186 miles.

I was tempted to go farther to a campsite Voni recommended in Libby, MT, but I'm glad I went with relatively low mileage today. Plenty of time to enjoy Glacier National Park, and I rolled into CSer Art's home at a reasonable hour. He invited me along to an evening with friends on a boat on Flathead Lake. We chatted, ate, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset. I should remember to slow down more.

Monday, August 11, 2014

8/11 - Chance Convention of Kindred Spirits

312 miles.

I was going to leave the Choteau City Park & Campground, but took the ranger's advice and rounded the bend to the tree-shaded side. Two BMW motorcycles were parked there, along with a bicycle, car, and camper. I'm glad I stopped after all, and met Voni and Paul Glaves. Also, Aurelie, a cyclist visiting from France, Don, car-camping from Portland, OR, and Max the dog who belongs to a camper I can't remember the name of. It was a serendipitous meeting of travelers. Our modes of transport were diverse, but maybe our approaches to travel were similar? In the morning we all packed up and went our separate ways, in the words of Don, vanishing "like soap bubbles." I suppose that's the way with travelers, but some people can leave a lasting impression in just a brief meeting.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

8/10 - Only for one

204 miles. Round-trip today. Just me, the miles, and Tetons. Tee hee, Tetons.

I passed more than one hitchhiker on the return leg. They stayed in my mind, as if they'd actually hitched a ride. Scooting isn't so hard.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

8/9 - Moose Tracks

Alice and I took her car to Yellowstone today, she's a fantastic guide! Old Faithful: check. And a fun family BBQ with their friends in the evening.

Friday, August 8, 2014

8/8 - It's All So Beautiful

163 miles.

Nope, not even going to try to draw scenery from today. Beartooth Pass, Rt 212 from Red Lodge, MT to Cooke City, MT, can only be experienced.

Temps drop quickly at altitude, especially after being rained on. I gratefully rolled into the hands of Alice and Mike, Boston scooterist Fred's sister and her husband. It's amazing the connections a person makes on this kind of trip.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

8/7 - My Outdoor Life

213 miles.

Epic day today. Thank you to Deerhaven Lodge for the superb breakfast, it was great to start the day chatting with climbers and riders and backpackers. $2 showers available at Ten Sleep Brewing Co., thanks to Elena for the tip. Also, I met the wonderful Shreve, of Vespa Vagabond!

To top it all off, I was adopted by some crazy Red Lodge locals at a free campground. The kids showed me how to hop across the creek to reach a patch of earth juuust big enough for a tent. I fell asleep to the smell of campfire, the sound of a tiny waterfall, and the swill of vodka from a plastic bottle. Thank you for inviting me, Bobbie.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

8/6 - Overheard Bikers

262 miles, and farewell, Sturgis.

It was sad to leave 'motorcycle camp' with Sash and Steve, but good to be on the road again. I rolled in with the setting sun and pitched my tent just past Buffalo, WY, in Bighorn National Forest. In spite of my fears that bears would maul my scooter, I was asleep by 10pm. No cell service, no artificial lighting, just a tired, sweaty scooterist.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

8/5 - Bye, behind the Drome

Rained out of the Biker Belle ride today, but I stopped by the Wall of Death to say farewells. I don't feel like farewell is the right word though, for all the people I'll miss but see again another day. However, I'm about Sturgis'ed out!

Gear Talk: What's in the Cooler?

The title sounds banal, but I've always been interested in how others pack for long hauls on the road. So, I'm thinking this will be a series of posts on just gear and road logistics. Hopefully it will be useful for reference or something.

Monday, August 4, 2014

8/4 - Small Displacement Big Adventure

At a scenic stop near Mount Rushmore, I'd heard a couple was riding across the country on two Honda Trail 90s. Guess who I found pulling out of a gas station near Keystone?

They waved enthusiastically at the turn, I just had to pull over to meet them. Commence excited bike oggling and photo taking, right on the shoulder of the highway.

Kristen and Adam are amazing people, and having an adventure of a lifetime! Check them out online at or follow them on Facebook. I had a blast riding into Sturgis with them.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

8/3 - Bus beer to the Chip

Hunting wifi and riding Spearfish Canyon today. In the evening, I joined the friendly Canadians from the next door cabin on a converted school bus to the Buffalo Chip. Free wristband and Lynard Skynyrd, woah life is crazy.

Indiana Bike Week, and Officially into the Midwest. June 27-July 1, 2014.

Indiana Bike Week, and Officially into the Midwest. June 27-July 1, 2014. Indiana Bike Week, and Officially into the Midwest. June 27-July 1, 2014. Indiana Bike Week, and Officially into the Midwest. June 27-July 1, 2014. Indiana Bike Week, and Officially into the Midwest. June 27-July 1, 2014.

I never would have guessed, but this leg of the journey was all about familiar faces. The days were packed, which was unexpected for the Midwest - wasn't this supposed to be miles and miles of nothing, or something?

Saturday, August 2, 2014

8/2 - We live on our bikes, too!

Sash and Steve had extra bunks in their cabin, and were kind enough to let me stay with them! Bonus, they're amazing, genuine people. They also keep a blog, Road Pickle. I feel so lucky to meet them!

No riding today, just wandering around the main drag of Sturgis with awesome new friends.

Friday, August 1, 2014

8/1 - Vespa at Klock Werks

330 miles, getting passed by a million Harleys on I-90 to Sturgis, SD. Yep, it's bike week.

Epic waterfalls of gratitude to Brian Klocks, whom I met at Wing Ding in Madison, WI, for watching out for the lone scooter that happened to zigzag its way across his path. Thank you! I've met so many great people, what a fantastic community.

I felt fancy shmancy changing my oil on a raised stand (so much nicer) and I had some help removing the bug juice mess on the front. It was starting to get sticky from insect carnage. De-bugging my helmet visor has become a morning ritual these past few days.